Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One more thing

I went back to the Y after work and squeezed in another 55 minutes on the elliptical, raising my day's HBBC exercise points to 8. My veggies for the day included these delicious delicata squash rings. They are oven roasted (like the delicata squash fries in my recipe list), although they look suspiciously like onion rings!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Last day of November Thanks

I ended my series of thankfulness posts on Thanksgiving, because that seemed like an appropriate conclusion point. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving month, I decided to finish with one final day of thanks.

Today I am thankful for running, and my ability to run. Running has provided me with years of fun, fitness, and a whole new reason to travel to fun places. I am so lucky that despite my dicey ankle/achilles, I have never been injured enough to stop running, and despite my penchant for tripping and falling, I haven't been hurt much worse than bloody knees. (Okay, there was/is my deformed bicep injury, but it totally did not interfere with running, except to the extent it affects how I look in a sleeveless shirt.) While I never will be extraordinarily fast, I have been thrilled by running faster (at times) than I ever would have believed possible. And even though I am feeling slow these days, I still believe that there is the potential for improvement (and new PRs) in my future. I am thankful for my endurance. Who would have thought I could run continually for four hours (and more), and walk away feeling pretty good, and thinking about future marathons not two days later! (Thinking about them, not actually running them....)

Oh, and as alluded to in my earlier post, I am really, really thankful for compression socks! (I'm pretty sure it's only a matter of time before I start exploring full length compression tights...assuming they make them for thunder thighs!)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

I feel good

Two days out from the Seattle Marathon and I feel pretty good! Of course I have been wearing compression socks for the last four days (including Saturday, Sunday during the race, Monday and today) and today I am wearing running shoes at work (black Asics to look "professional," haha).

I am waiting on doing a full race report until the race pictures come out. (Though a smart person would start writing right away before she forgot everything....)

Bodywise, on Sunday (after the race) I was pretty sore all over and walking very stiffly (the traditional "marathon shuffle"). I didn't sleep well Sunday night because of the achiness, even though I was in a Westin Heavenly Bed. On Monday most of the general achiness was gone, so that I could feel the soreness in my ankle and achilles tendon. Oh, and my left big toenail...the one that just finished growing back from a delayed loss after the Newport Marathon (albeit in a slightly deformed fashion)...had a big blood blister under the nail (which undoubtedly lead to another loss). I drained the blister on Sunday so that took a lot of the pressure off, but the toe of my shoe pressing on it still made it hurt a little. (This doesn't happen with running shoes, hence my decision to wear them today, even though the nail is much less tender by now.)

Anyhow, on Monday I was almost fine. On Monday afternoon delayed muscle soreness began to set in my quads, and today they are still feeling it. It only affects things like going down stairs and raising my upper legs (when I want to cross my legs I have to give them a boost by lifting with my hands).

I had decided not to run any races in December as part of my running recovery program. That is still the plan, but...I am considering running a Jingle Bell Run on Saturday, just for fun. Haven't signed up yet...I am still debating.* (But you know I'm gonna do it, don't you, unless there is some non-running reason that I can't!) It's four miles, which would be a great distance to run.

I am definitely taking the rest of this week off running, though. I went to the Y this morning for the elliptical, and I am hoping to force myself to start going back to yoga on December 1. The only thing that has been holding me back from yoga is reluctance to spend the evening going to the Y...I have enjoyed my evenings at home. But HBBC calls, and I must expand my fitness options!

Speaking of HBBC...60+ minutes on the elliptical = 4 points. Plus fruit and veg = 1 point. I haven't had my full quota of veg yet but I know I will with dinner. (Also 1 point fruit and veg yesterday, no exercise yesterday.)

*And I am waiting to see if I win the Snickers Marathon Bar contest for a trip to Vegas this weekend, before I schedule anything else. Just in case.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

HBBC 11/27-28

Saturday: 0 exercise, I'm afraid. But I did squeeze in 7 fruits and veg (with a little creativity) - Marionberry pie (a LOT of fruit in my piece); a great veggie melange pasta for lunch with lots of brussels sprouts, sweet potato, squash, and apple; real tomato soup with dinner; and arugula salad. TOTAL 1 point.

Sunday: 26.35 run + 1.15 walk (that's from the hotel to the race plus general walking around afterwards). 27.5 total. Fruit and veg 0 (two bananas and that's it--oh, there was a baked apple with dessert but nothing near seven).
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Post Marathon

That shirt says Finisher, by the way! I suppose the picture is sideways. I was able to rotate the view on my BlackBerry but I don't think it sticks for emailing.

So, 4:38:36. A little bit slower than my hoped for sub-4:30, and of course way slower than my (apparently unrealistic) wish for 4:15 or so.

I could go on about how I was on pace for 4:20 about halfway, and hung onto 4:30 till about mile 20...but I'll wait for a computer and maybe some race pics, if they're not too horrendous.

I took a small victory that I at least got in under 4:40!

Despite wearing recovery socks (which were great!) my legs are pretty tired and I'm still walking pretty gimpily (even if that's not a word, you know what I mean).

One more night at the lovely Westin (and tonight I really expect to appreciate the Heavenly Bed), though sadly, we have to leave early to get me to work in the morning. The end of the holiday weekend is near...sigh.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marathon Eve

My mother and I drove down to Seattle this afternoon to stay over for the marathon. Yes, it is only 30-some miles away, but last year the morning traffic was so bad that we vowed not to do that again!

We're staying at the Westin, and at the last minute (about a week ago) I added Sunday night so we didn't have to rush home tomorrow. Plus my mom will have a place to hang out while I am running!

The hotel was VERY busy. Of course it was full of runners (not just staying here but going to the Expo as well), but there were also TONS of little kids with their parents. There must be something else happening for them.

After we settled into our nice, somewhat pie-shaped room (the hotel towers are round), we went down to the Expo so I could get my bib and chip and shop. I realized later that I didn't grab safety pins, but luckily I had some already pinned to other running gear.

The only thing I wanted from the Expo was another pair of compression socks (even though I ordered two pair online yesterday). I ended up with two pair, one black and one green. (Didn't need two, but the price was good, $50, no tax.) I have decided to wear my older pair to run tomorrow...this way I will have a clean pair for, well, recovery!

I had hoped to sign up with a pace group, but the only ones they had were up through 4:00, plus 4:45 (WHY?). I was hoping for 4:15 or thereabouts....

I decided to get an un-free 30-minute massage, so my mother headed back upstairs while I did. My ankle and calf have been tight all week, but I wore the compression socks today, and that and the massage helped a lot, I think.

I also ended up buying a Seattle Marathon hoodie. I am taken with the hoodie style because I like carrying stuff in the front pocket like a kangaroo. This one is white and it was the last medium...so obviously I had to snap it up.

We had reservations for dinner at Palomino, a WONDERFUL restaurant. But...we didn't feel like walking five blocks there in the dark. So I cancelled the reservation and we ordered room service instead.

The Westin has a lovely (though pricy) room service menu, but I wanted something simple. I ended up getting the kid's spaghetti with tomatoe sauce plus a kid's turkey sandwich. My mom got a more adult grilled chicken panini and tomato soup. I ate some of the soup and we also shared the two warm rolls that came with the soup. I think this did the job for carb-loading and I am not overstuffed. (We also had some cookies for dessert that I brought.)

I've set the alarm and requested a wake-up call, and also laid out my clothes and gear for morning. I'm still on the fence whether to wear a jacket other than my throwaway. I am sure I don't really need it...but I will decide in the morning, I guess.

Eight hours to wake up time....
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving dinner

Is she cute or what?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Marathon dreams

I've had a few dreams about marathon running and they were vivid enough to stick with me.

Last night I dreamed I was running the Seattle Marathon (on an altternate dream-universe course, not the actual course). The first half passed uneventfully and I crossed the halfway point at a little over two hours, which I was happy about. I thought the second half was going to be the same but it was not...I soon came to a hill that was so steep everyone was walking. That would have been okay but when I started up it was SO steep that I couldn't even take one step forward. Gravity was holding me back. Before I could figure out what to do, I woke up.

Also last night, before I woke up, I was "remembering" another marathon/half marathon course that involved an obstacle course. That race never really happened...but I have dreamed about it before.

A while back I had a very interesting marathon dream where I finished with a 3:50-ish time and an 8:40ish pace. When I woke up I had to get out the calculator...yep, it works.

That's not anywhere near my expectations for Sunday, though. Expectations? Really, I have none. Hopes, desires, maybe. My "goal time" is about 4:15. I think if I shot for anything faster I would just burn out in the first few miles, or first half anyway. It's going to take some race day adrenaline even to make that happen. 4:30 may be more realistic. Somewhere in between would be okay too.

If there is a 4:15 pace group I might join it. I've never formally done a pace group before but I found it rather helpful hanging with the 4:00 group in the second half.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thanksgiving HBBC update

Zero. Yep, zero points on Thanksgiving yesterday. As previously whined about, I couldn't go for a run, and after that there was no opportunity for any cross-training or anything. As for the fruits and veg, I have gone over it again and again to see if a I can count out seven. I had a cup of berries + about 1/3 cup juice with breakfast (don't know if juice counts anyway). Lunch was snacky and had no fruits or veg (except for some tomatoes in the melty cheese dip). Dinner: brussels sprouts (2 servings between the cooking and meal), green beans, sweet potatoes (maybe 2 servings), about 1/4 cup mashed potatoes (I don't really count potatoes), some cranberry jelly (does that count?), and the dressing did have some apple, dried cherries, mushrooms and onion in it. (But I'm not sure if that counts either.) That might add up to seven if I get partial credit for the questionable items like juice, mashed potatoes, and dressing ingredients. I thought I could count a fruit for marionberry pie, but I was too full to eat pie and saved my piece for today!

This morning I did finally get out for a run. The snow is all gone, although there were still slushy icy spots in some places on the sidewalks. I ended up going 6.3 miles then walking .7 mile back from Safeway with my coffee. (7 points.) I thought of this as the last 10K of the marathon. (So I'm done then, right?)

Don't know if I'll manage the fruit and veg today though. I've been focusing on carb loading. :) Through lunch today I've just had half an apple (well, in addition to the carbs and sugar, e.g. a Pershing/Persian maple doughnut from Safeway after my run, and toast with maple almond butter for lunch). I'll eat the rest of the brussels sprouts later, and Chinese for dinner...not the healthy kind of Chinese, I fear. :)

Tomorrow my mom and I will head down to Seattle for the marathon. I learned my lesson last year about trying to drive there on Sunday morning; this year we're staying at the Westin. It's the official hotel for the race but it's a mile from the start with no shuttle...I guess they figure marathoners can WALK to the starting area. Ha! :)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taper turkey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

After my month of thankfulness I am in a bit of a grump this Thanksgiving morning. I have been reading everyone's blogs about their Turkey Trots and Thanksgiving runs and I am in a mood because I am not running on Thanksgiving, for the first time in years. (I've never had a formal race but I have always done at least a few miles.) Also today is Day 3 of not running and that is NOT GOOD. I feel like I am letting four months of marathon training slip away. I fully planned to run this morning, but it's been snowing more and when I told Rod I was going out to run he "suggested" that I was crazy and there is no way I can run on snow and ice (my YakTrax are at home, unfortunately, didn't think I'd need them). I beg to differ on my ability to run on snow, but it didn't seem worth an argument, so I conceded. (I will, however, feel secretly resentful all day.) Now I have no choice but to run tomorrow, regardless of what slush and slop may be on the roads (it is supposed to turn to rain later), and even though it is the day before the day before the marathon, traditionally a rest day, but I HAVE BEEN RESTING ALL WEEK! What's more, with the lack of exercise while still continuing to fuel for a marathon, I am starting to feel like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (would be nice to have a link or a pic but I am limited with the BlackBerry, so Google it if you aren't old enough to have a recollection of 80s movie trivia). I have been wearing jeans that are a little stretched out and I refuse to wash them because I fear snugness if I do. Plus the roll of flab around my belly, which still exists even at the best of times, is feeling downright aggressive.

However, I am still about to make whole wheat pancakes for breakfast, because that is what my fueling plan suggests and it is, after all, Thanksgiving!

So there you have it. Please forgive the Thanksgiving Day rant and the excessively long paragraph and plethora of run-on sentences (like this one, because it is more effective to complain in a long string of spewage rather than a well-thought out, carefully punctuated dissertation, don't you think (especially if it includes liberal and unnecessary parentheticals)).

Have a wonderful day, running or not, eat yummy food, and try not to fight with your family!

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day of Thanks 24

I am thankful for long weekends! Even though (because?) this one ends with a marathon.

HBBC update 11/23-24
Walking in the snow/ice with YakTrax, 3.2 Tuesday + 4.5 Wednesday + .5 to/from dinner sans Yax. 8 points. Plus 2 points for fruit and veg each day.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day of Thanks 23

I am thankful that I live in a warm cozy house and I can turn up the heat when the weather is bitterly cold.

I am thankful that my cats live here with me and do not have to suffer outside.

I am thankful that not being able to (or wanting to) go outside and run in the cold and snow and ice is my biggest weather-related problem.

I am thankful that I have the luxury of worrying about having too much food to eat, rather than having too little.

I am thankful that I can whine and complain and feel sorry for myself when I have a cold, and don't have to cope with debilitating or life-threatening illness and injury.

I am thankful that the biggest problems in my life are pretty small ones in the vast scheme of things.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day of Thanks 22

I am not so thankful for the snow today. Oh, I still like it, but driving home from work today was a mess (and I only live 1.5 miles away!). We only got a few inches, but Broadway was just packed with cars and nobody was sure whether it would be icy and I was just glad to get to QFC and then (after a lengthy grocery shopping delay) home.

Here is my traditional backyard snow picture. I've taken a lot better ones in other years (and this was just with my cell phone), but you gotta document the first snow!

I got my Monday morning run done just before the snow started this morning. Today's run was exceptional because it was my fourth day of consecutive running and my legs felt great! Well, slow of course, but not sore or heavy at all. That was a big confidence booster. From Friday through today, I've run over 32 miles.

Luckily tomorrow is finally an off day, because it is going to be cold (like teens and twenties) and probably icy. I'm not even going to make the trip to the Y at 6 a.m. tomorrow. I am, however, planning to walk to work, so I still have to get up and ready early enough to allow for that. I have put Yaktrax on my field-walking shoes (not enough snow for snowshoes, sadly), and am kind of excited about it!

So, what am I thankful for today? I am thankful that we are now 1/3 through the three-day work week! Whee!

HBBC today:

6.5 miles running = 6.5 points

F&V - ½ banana, berry medley, ½ apple, onions, sweet potato, squash, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, eggplant = 1 point

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The final countdown (and thankful day 21)

My running calendar week goes from Monday through Sunday, and since the Seattle Marathon is next Sunday, I am now indubitably beginning the final week before the Marathon. So much to figure out over the next few days (and some of it immediately!).

First, what will my running plan be for the final week? I have been training off schedule since my marathon training schedule finished at the end of September. I think (hope) I have done all right with the long runs in the interim period (hence my hope that I will get through it okay), and know I have done crap with speed work (hence my expectation of a mediocre finish time), but now I am facing the last six days without a piece of paper to tell me what to do!

What I will probably do is three medium length runs, decreasing the distance as I get closer to the race date, and rest my legs for the two days immediately pre-race. That is basically what all of the marathon training plans I have followed before do, and it's worked well enough so far.

I've checked out some other sources to consider. This article from Run the Planet has some very useful tips on carb loading and tapering, but the volume of mileage they recommend (even for beginners!) in the final two weeks is more than I want to do (or ever do, in the case of the intermediate and advanced plans). All the versions include running every single day of the week, which is not me!

In the latest issue of Runner's World Bart Yasso suggests a much gentler race week schedule. Monday off, short run on Tuesday, short speed workout on Wednesday (e.g. 6 x 400m at 5K pace), Thursday off, Friday off, and easy 25-30 minute run on Saturday.

Both of the above plans (plus all the Hal Higdon plans) include a very short run on the day before the race. This is contrary to what I've ever done...not sure if I want to try it out now, though. Bart Yasso says this keeps you from feeling sluggish in the first miles of the race. Hmmm.

I'm thinking Monday, Wednesday (with a few 400s), and Thursday. Although if weather keeps me in tomorrow morning, I may consider the Bart Yasso plan. (That would leave me without a run on Thanksgiving Day. Can I do that?)

Less immediately (but soon) I have to figure out what running clothes I need to bring and likely wear. My basic plan is my favorite Nike capris and my fuschia Lucy half zip, which is what I wore at CIM (where it was quite cold), but I need some other options in case it is not just cold but wet. I don't think I would change from capris to long pants unless it was going to be colder than 35º, but maybe I need another jacket? Or another top under the half zip? I do have some throwaway jackets to bring and wear as long as needed. I also want to get a very light rain poncho to wear on the way to the start (the hotel is a mile away and there is no shuttle). I don't mind running in the rain, but I'd rather not get soaked beforehand. That was okay in Portland, but it was warm there!

Considering my wimpiness on Monday and Tuesday of this week, I ended up with more miles than I expected (due to running Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Wednesday 6.52 miles, Friday 8.51, Saturday 12.06, and an unexpected 5.78 today, followed by 65 minutes on the elliptical at the Y. (Total mileage for week 32.87 miles.)

Yesterday I did a longish run in a cold north wind. I stepped outside wearing just the half zip, thinking that should be plenty (temperature in the 40s), but it was so cold on my porch (it is very windy on my porch) that I went right back in for a jacket. Throughout a lot of the run I vacillated between thinking I might be too warm (it was sunny) and being glad for the jacket (when the wind blasted me). By the end of the run the sun had gone behind clouds and I didn't mind the jacket at all.

Here is my view at the end of the Pigeon Creek pedestrian trail, at 9 miles (three to go).

I took several pictures trying to capture the waves and whitecaps! The island to the left of center is Hat Island, and next to that on the right is Whidbey Island. At the very far right you can just see Mission Head, which is about a mile from the beach where my parents live.

This morning I lounged in bed watching the Food Network, and at about 10 a.m. it started snowing! It snowed heavily for at least an hour, turning the grass in my parking strip white. By the time I got up and dressed for a run in the snow, it had stopped falling, and pretty much disappeared from the ground too by the time I finished 5.78 miles, stopping at the Y.

This was the run that grew. Initially I was going to do about 3.5 miles, just to bring my week's mileage to 30. That quickly changed to 4, then 4.5, and why not 5? Then I decided to go just a bit further and make it 5.5 to the Y...which turned out to be 5.78. I resisted the urge to round up to 6, because that would have to become 10K, and really, enough was enough.

I had packed a lighter shirt in a ziploc bag and put it in the back pocket of my jacket, so I was able to change into something dryer and lighter for my time on the elliptical. Then I put my heavy shirt and jacket back on and walked back to Starbucks, and home (.78 mile walk).

Day of Thanks 21

I am thankful for snow! I know it can cause all kinds of problems...but I love it all the same.

HBBC tally

  • Running 5.78 + Walking .78 = 6.5 points
  • Elliptical (cross training) 65 minutes = 4 points
  • Fruits & veg: ½ banana, mixed berries, ½ apple, onions, arugula, spinach x 2, a little bit of kale, sweet potato, cauliflower, ½ serving mushrooms = 1 point

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful day 20

I can't believe we're already 2/3 through the month of November...and five days to Thanksgiving...which is one month before Christmas...which is one week before the end of 2010.

Perhaps today I should be thankful that we still have one month, one week, and five days left in the year. Or not.

I am, though, thankful that this darned cold I have picked up is really quite mild and will probably be done soon. Quite soon.

It started in the usual fashion a few days ago with the traditional sore throat. I was sort of draggy for the first couple days. Now it's moved into my head (mostly my nose) and except for the prodigious use of kleenex, I am not suffering many ill consequences.

I expect to be quite well before Thanksgiving, and COMPLETELY well by the Seattle Marathon next Sunday.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge begins

I signed up for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge a few days ago but didn't get around to posting until today. I also didn't repost on Facebook, thus losing an opportunity to get an extra point...this slackishness is probably foreshadowing my ability to track my progress throughout the program!

Amanda at Run to the Finish is the creator of this challenge, and sign-up ends today, November 20, so if you are reading this and you want to play, go to her blog quickly and get in on the fun! It runs November 20 - January 7, throughout the holiday season.

Basically you earn points for exercise, one point for every mile ran, walked, or snowshoed, plus point conversion for other exercise, plus an extra point for every day where you consume at least seven fruits and veggies.

I don't expect to be a winner (unless I win some random giveaway), since I will be recovering from the marathon in December, but it should be fun and give me some extra motivation to keep working out!

I was supposed to be able to put the button in my sidebar, but I couldn't figure out how. FAIL.

Here is my tally for today (includes vegetables I am going to eat at dinner, which is still in the process of cooking).

Ran 12 miles (12 points).
Fruits and veggies - ½ banana, ½ apple, choppped onion, ½ grapefruit (I count this as one serving, all other half fruits as ½), sweet potato, cauliflower, mushrooms (½ serving), kale (at least 2 servings) = at least 7 ½ servings = 1 point.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day of Thanks 19

On Friday I am thankful for a fun trip to Third Place Books with my mom to hear Nora Ephron* speak! She is of course the writer of Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, and writer/director of Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail,** and Julie and Julia. Plus other stuff. She also wrote a funny memoir about aging, I Feel Bad About My Neck, and just published another memoir about really aging, I Remember Nothing.*** That's why she was at Third Place Books, actually. I bought the book for full price to get it signed (double what it would have been from Amazon, but oh well), and read the whole thing on Saturday morning. It's a quick read, but entertaining. We had a great time Friday night.

*This bio is from Wikipedia. In her talk Nora mentioned how Google is the savior of not remembering anything, since you can Google anyone and get a slightly inaccurate version of their life on Wikipedia.
**I don't know why this DVD edition has a picture from the very end of the movie on the cover. Don't you think they'd preserve the façade that someone might not know how it comes out?
***What does it say that I have absolutely no idea of why I footnoted this one? Oh wait, I just remembered. Also in her talk, Nora mentioned that she had read a chapter of George Bush's book (because she wanted to get to the bottom of the fetus in a jar story), and she mentioned that her book title could also have been the title of his.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful day 18

Today I am thankful for sleep. Is there anything else that is so pleasurable, but also so good for you? Beats running, hands down. Good night.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful day 17

Today I am thankful for books. The many thousands that I have read and enjoyed over the years, and the many thousands yet to read (some of which have not yet been written!).

There is a Facebook tag going around titled "Fifteen writers who have influenced you." You are supposed to quickly list fifteen writers (including poets) who have had an influence in your life. Of course I jumped on that when my friend Marie tagged me, because I love my favorite writers and I love to make lists!

I found that my list of Fifteen Writers was not exactly the same as my theoretical list of "favorite books" or even "books that have influenced me" would be. Most of the writers I picked have written several, or many books, and is in part the sheer volume of these authors' works that have made them so signficant in my life.

Most, also, are authors and books that I read as a child. Perhaps that is because we are most impressionable at that time in our life, and the books we read as children stick with us in a way that they would not in our shallower older age.

So, without further ado..."Fifteen Writers that Have Influenced Me."

Laura Ingalls Wilder. Little House in the Big Woods was the first "real" (full-length) book I read. I then read each and every book in the series many, many times. I could not get enough of Laura's life as her family made their way west. (Ironic, now, that their westernmost destination in the series was South Dakota.) On a family vacation to Minnesota (we have relatives in Minnesota) almost 40 years ago we made a pilgimage to the Banks of Plum Creek. I could tell you all about how to make hay into logs in case you are snowed in during a Long Winter. The courtship of Laura and Almanzo was the first "romance" I ever read. I could go on...but I think it is pretty clear how much of a mark these books made on me.

L.M. Montgomery. Similarly, I have read every Anne of Green Gables book many, many times. (Montgomery, a Canadian icon, has also written books featuring several other heroines, but Anne is her most beloved.) I think I, and every other Anne fan, feels that she is our soulmate. The words "Gilbert Blythe is dying" can still make me choke up. The Anne books were also made into one of the best mini-series ever.

Madeleine L'Engle. Best known for A Wrinkle in Time, L'Engle was a prolific author of novels for children and adults. She also wrote non-fiction works and poetry, and much of her writing (including the children's books) explored faith and spirituality, or allowed the reader to do so. Madeleine L'Engle died in 2007 at the age of 88.

Carolyn Keene. The Nancy Drew books were a youthful favorite. I read all the copies that my mother had as a child (starting with The Secret of the Old Clock), which would include the original 34 books, and probably close to 56 (I'm not sure of the last few). After 56 they starting publishing paperbacks, and I know that I only read the hardback versions. I so wanted to be Nancy Drew, drive a convertible, travel to exciting locations, and solve little mysteries!

J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books rocked my world. (Yes, I was an adult!) I pre-ordered each new book as it was published, and cried when I finished number 7. Curiously, though, I have only seen the first of the movies!

Maud Hart Lovelace. I am pretty sure the world is divided into people who have never heard of Maud Hart Lovelace, and those who are devoted Betsy-Tacy fans. Guess which one I am? The Betsy-Tacy books are also set in Minnesota, around the turn of the century through WWI. I think I first developed my yen to travel abroad when I read Betsy and the Great World. Betsy, like the author (and me, as a child) was an aspiring writer and oh, I wanted to be like her, with her pouffed hair and fudge-making and sleigh rides (yes, I wanted to be a turn-of-the-century teenager!). Someday I will make my pilgrimage to Mankato, Minnesota!

Louisa May Alcott. Little Women was the first really long book I read as a young child. My parents had to intervene at the library to get permission for me to check out something from the big kids section (I was in second grade). I think it took me two weeks to finish, and there were some words I didn't know the meaning of--like "bosom" (for some reason I remember that). I think I have read every book she wrote (and almost every one had a tragic death in it). It took me almost 40 years, but a few years ago I finally visited Louisa May Alcott's house in Concord, Massachusetts. It was magical.

Beverly Clearly. An amazingly prolific children's book author from Oregon...her books are classics and still loved today!

Sylvia Plath. As all English majors are, in college I was quite obsessed with Sylvia Plath, her short life, and her writing. (I never shared her suicidal tendencies, fortunately.) Sylvia Plath was also my doppelganger when I was younger!

Jane Austen. Another English major fave.

Mark Twain. Journalist, novelist, the father of American literature.

Harper Lee. Unlike everyone else on my list, she only wrote one book, To Kill a Mockingbird. But that book is perfect.

William Shakespeare. I have not read all of Shakespeare's plays, which I suppose is an embarrassment for an English major. Some, frankly, are not as fun to read as others. But I am pretty sure that all the literature of the world is encapsulated into the works of Shakespeare.

Robert Frost. The poet of American life.

Agatha Christie. The first "mystery writer" I ever read, and the creator of the quintessential English country house murder. Classic.

Whew, that was exhausting!

On Day 16 I was not very thankful

I have to admit, yesterday I was in a rather whiny, complainy mood, and more focused on what I was not at all thankful about. For example....

The weather. Endless (well, three so far) days of varying levels of rain, wind, and storm. Not to mention that it is dark.all.day. Might as well live in Alaska or northern Norway. I let the rain convince me not to run on both Monday and Tuesday, although I did make it out this morning for 6.5 very slow miles in the wind (but only light rain).

Some things about my job. Yes, I am very thankful to have a good job, but by 6:30 p.m. last night I was drained. I hate that I can't always make things go the way I (or my clients) want them to. There are other things that frustrate me and stress me out, but I don't really want to elaborate, and this is not the place.

The fact that I eat so cleanly and so sparingly (in terms of net calories), and yet not only can I not lose any weight, I seem to be gaining it instead.

I guess those were my main issues of complaint for Tuesday. Even just revisiting and writing about them makes me tired and grumpy. I guess that's one of the downsides of complaining--it takes a lot out of you.

I will be back soon with something I am thankful for today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful day 15

Tonight I am thankful for smartphones (like my BlackBerry) that give me phone service and internet even if the power goes out in a storm. I don't THINK I'll lose power here in town tonight (it's only happened once in 15 years) but if I do I'll still have access to the outside world and Facebook. I'll even have reading material in my Google reader if my TV security blanket goes away. (And readable in the dark thanks to the handy backlight.) It's really windy and raining hard out there. I sure hope it lets up by morning. I am supposed to run and I don't need flying tree limbs and torrential rainfall giving me an excuse to stay in bed (again)!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful day 14

Today I am thankful that Oregon beat Cal last night, and is still #1 in the country. Makes my life so.much.easier.

Ten miles today, sans Garmin. Even though it was fully charged last night, today it was mysteriously at 0% power. Once I got used to not monitoring every step of my run, it was quite freeing!

I didn't get out until after 11, though. I spent the morning lying in bed reading Second Wind by Cami Ostman (One Woman's Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents). My only criticism is the very small type--you'd think an author in her forties would ask for a typeface that doesn't require magnifying glasses to read!

After I finished the run I just had enough time to change before heading out to see Morning Glory with my mom. We were going to go last night but I couldn't bring myself to abandon the game before it ended (very close score throughout). Cute movie.

And so another weekend ends and another work week begins....
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day of Thanks 13

Today I am thankful for a confidence-restoring 10K!

I seriously considered not doing the Fowl Fun Run 10K this year. I feared that a poor performance would drag me further into my running slump. On the other hand, this was my final opportunity to push myself in a short distance race before the Seattle Marathon, and possibly my only real stab at a hard tempo run (since my recent efforts at tempo runs have been less than successful!). I was toying with the idea of going to a pancake breakfast instead.

I ran my thoughts by my mother and she, rather surprisingly, told me I should do the 10K! I was surprised because she has been telling me not to be so hard on myself (as I've complained about my slowing legs). I think that if I had affirmatively said I decided not to run, then she would have supported that. But since I was ambivalent, she voted in favor of facing my fears!

So, late at night on November 11, I registered online. (Online registration ended at 11:59 p.m., though I could still have signed up at the race.) I was committed to the tune of $25.

Originally we planned that my mother would come with me to the race, but on Friday Rod suggested that he might go. I generally am sparing about asking him to races (my mom is very amenable to sitting around in the car waiting, and my dad likes walking around looking at stuff and talking to people, but I am afraid Rod will get bored), so the ones he has gone to are ones that I think he would enjoy (or where the amenities are good, like staying at the Fairhaven Inn!). He also expects me to run fast. And I generally have in the races he's gone to. (Fast for me, taking into consideration the type of race and conditions, anyway.)

But despite my qualms about how the race was going to go, and his qualms about having to get up moderately early on a Saturday morning to drive north to hang out in the (possible rain) for an hour (not including the hour that I insist on arriving prior to the race), it was agreed that Rod would be my race companion and my mom would stay home. (A sacrifice for her, not having to get up early!) (It would make it too big of a deal if they both went.)

On Friday I rested my legs a little by just spending 50 minutes or so on the elliptical at the Y, to shake them out after Thursday's 18-miler (my final "long" run before the marathon in two weeks). I also got a massage. I am not sure if that was to help my legs or just for the general pleasure of it!

We carb-loaded on Friday night with baked spaghetti and meatballs, plus bread and salad. Again, not sure if that was really to help with the race or just an excuse to eat bread and spaghetti!

I anticipated rain on Saturday morning, as it had been promised all week. But I got very lucky, as it didn't rain at all during the run, and in fact we didn't see any rain all day until evening. We left Marysville around 8:15 or so, and arrived at the race site in Mount Vernon by 9 a.m. The race didn't start until 10, so I had plenty of time to collect my bib and chip (new this year!), use the indoor bathroom (we were starting at a school) and do a 1.6 mile warm-up run. Then I used the bathroom again (only one or two people ahead of me, not a wait at all!) and jogged another .2 mile (for the traditional 1.8 mile warm-up distance).

Then Rod walked over to the starting area with me, where we waited. When everyone was gathered behind the starting mats, I handed him my jacket and he moved out of the way of the mob start. Then they told us there would be a 5-minute delay while they finished setting up the timing clock! I shivered in the wind for a while, but finally it was time to go.

Rod told me to go for 50 minutes. Considering that I was unsure if I would be under an hour, that seemed optimistic, but certainly not completely impossible (considering that my time last year was 49:20). I guessed, roughly, that I would have to do around 8:15 miles to finish near 50 minutes. (I was wrong about that; 8:15 would be just over 51 minutes, 50 would be more like 8:05. But a moot point, in the end.)

I took off with a good effort. Of course people were passing me like crazy, but the start included all the 2-mile runners as well as the 10K, and I started moderately near the front, so the sorting out was inevitable. I felt like I was running hard, and moving pretty well. First mile - 8:18 (later Garmin rounded up to 8:19).

I was trying not to look at my watch too much, but I did want to monitor my pace some. Thanks to the satellites, or maybe just my watch getting old, who knows, my pace seemed to fluctuate quite a bit. But in fact, in the end, I quickly established my pace and stuck with it throughout. Mile 2 was 8:30, and every single other mile to the end was 8:34.

One of my concerns during this slump has been that my legs just don't want to move fast. I sometimes feel like I am pushing quite hard and barely break a 10-minute pace! Today my legs were moving faster than they have (on any extended basis) since the Fairhaven 15K just over two months ago! I know that the race energy, plus having people to pace off of, helps me run faster. Still, this was going better than any of my recent races and organized runs.

Now, this wasn't easy, mind you. I felt like I was working pretty hard to accomplish a pace that I have maintained and beat in longer distances (15K, parts of half marathons). More even than the work for my legs, I was a little stunned at how hard my heart and lungs were working. Clearly, running long distances at a moderate pace does not call for as much cardio fitness as shorter, faster distances! Yet another reason to get back to speed work--to push that lactate threshold.

Because this was a Thanksgiving theme race, one of the gimmicks was the "turkey"--a very fast runner who started five-minutes late then began to overtake us. Anyone who "beat the turkey" would win a prize. The turkey passed me around the two-mile point. If that was about 17 minutes for me, then he covered the first two miles in twelve minutes. He was going to have a pretty fast time, as would anyone who beat him, even with the five-minute handicap.

After a few turns in the beginning of the race, there was a long, straight stretch until the turnaround at 3.5 miles. I had it in my head that after the four mile point I would really push it to the finish. I did--even though my splits for miles five and six were exactly the same as miles three and four! Clearly, it was requiring my extra effort just to maintain the pace.

In the last mile, it would have been so easy just to let up and jog it in. I kind of wanted to. But I thought of Rod waiting at the finish (to go out to breakfast), and told myself, "the faster you run, the sooner you will be done!" I also thought about a blog post I had just read that morning, by Mary at Fit This, Girl--about digging deep to push yourself hard. I dug deep.

There was also a little competition to spur me on. I had been passed by many people at the beginning, and a few along the way, but I also passed some people myself. Well, at least two that I can recall. One was a female in a white running jacket. I pulled ahead of her in the first three miles somewhere, although she stayed close behind me (I learned later). At the turnaround I was just behind another young woman (I think wearing a black jacket and capris). I used her as my pacer, staying just behind her until I drew closer and passed her in the last couple miles. I really expected her to sprint ahead of me at the finish, but I don't think she did.

I was passed, in the last half mile, by two men who went by at enough speed that they clearly were not trying in the first 5.5 miles. After the six-mile sign, I geared up to sprint to the finish (at, it turns out, a 7:53 pace for the last .26 mile). The woman in white from earlier in the race came in just behind me, or perhaps beside me, and high-fived me, saying I was her pacer throughout. That was cool.

My time? Just over 53 minutes. My watch says 53:07. My chip time may be a second or two faster (still waiting on results). I'm a little disappointed that I didn't make it under 53 minutes (what would it have taken?), but it's so much better than my fears that I am quite elated.

We didn't stick around to check age group awards (if I didn't win one last year with 49:20, not gonna get it this time) or for the pumpkin pie and turkey raffles. Instead we headed directly to the Calico Cupboard for a late breakfast. I ordered a Vegetarian Scramble, which was great because it was full of vegetables, just like I would make it myself. I guess if I was making a better effort at losing weight I would have foregone the melted cheddar on top. It would have been good without it, but it was really good with! Next time, though, I might ask for the toast unbuttered. That would make me just as happy. I didn't really think about the toast being buttered.

All in all, a very good race experience!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day of Thanks 12

Massages. Thank you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day of thanks 11 - Veterans' Day

This one is easy, obviously. Today I am thankful for all the men and women who have served in the military, as well as the future veterans--men and women who are serving today. It is also good to remember that Veterans' Day began as Armistice Day, the day that ended the first World War. So in many ways, it is a day that celebrates peace.

I took the opportunity of this day off work to do one final longer run before tapering toward the Seattle Marathon. I planned for 16-18 miles but really wanted to do 18, of course.

I wasted most of a very nice morning (weatherwise) by sleeping in then lounging in bed reading and watching the Today show. I can't feel too bad about that (except for the loss of the weather), since I so rarely have a chance to do this!

I finally dragged myself out of bed while the sun was still out, but by the time I was dressed and geared up the clouds were taking over. I had dressed with some sun in mind, so I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt rather than long-sleeved, thinking I'd get warm soon enough. I also wore gloves, luckily.

It was cool but comfortable when I went out. I hadn't mapped a route, but figured I'd use my knowledge of distances around town to put my route together. I had some thought that I would loop down around the waterfront, but ended up not doing that.

First three miles--up to 41st and back to Everett Avenue. Instead of heading east into my Riverside-to-waterfront loop, though, I kept going north on Colby and followed my usual running route for several miles.

Unfortunately, it was breezy enough that I was a little cold, and didn't get warm even running. I decided that I needed to stop by my house and get a jacket, especially as it had begun raining lightly. I kept stretching the distance before turning around, though, and hit 12 miles just at my house (well, it took some running around the block to get there).

At mile 8 I had pulled out a packet of Luna Moons and ate four pieces, one about every half mile. I finished the package at a light near my house.

At home, I used the bathroom and put on a jacket. I did briefly contemplate stopping at 12 miles but just couldn't bring myself to do it. I only had six miles to go, an easy run!

Just to make it easy, I decided just to repeat my normal running route to get through the six miles. I had been listening to podcasts (two episodes of Phedippidations = 12 miles) but switched to music for the final six.

My legs did start feeling tired after 13 miles or so, but I was feeling good mentally and didn't need too much shoring up. My average pace after 12 miles was 10:29, and my average at the end was 10:32. I slowed down a little, but not too much.

The last few miles were all about goals. Get to the 15 mile point, then there's only three to go. Get to the next block. And the next. And the next. Get to 17 miles, then I can turn around and head for Starbucks.

The last mile was basically downhill, which is a nice way to finish. I reached Starbucks at 18.02 miles, without having to run extra around the block.

Before Starbucks, I popped into QFC and bought some pre-cut watermelon, slow-churned peppermint ice cream (for tonight) and a 7-pound bag of ice (which also helped keep the ice cream from melting on the way home).

The half mile walk home seemed quite long, but finally I was there, happily. After ungearing, the first order of business was my ice bath. I stayed in for 20 minutes! Drinking my peppermint mocha and eating a PR Bar helped pass the time. I also clipped on my iPod and listened to the radio, and did a little reading of Runner's World.

Then I laid in bed to warm up (I didn't want to hop right into the hot shower) and watched Marie Osmond on Oprah. Tears were shed.

To keep hunger at bay till dinner, I had a sandwich thin with almond butter and superfruit spread, and some watermelon. I think I am a little too dehydrated (in general, and running makes it worse), so I need to up my water intake. When I got on the scale my water percentage was down to 53%, but I'm not sure how accurate the reading was as my feet were still very cold from the ice bath and that may skew the accuracy. (I prefer to think so, as my body fat showed WAY up and my weight was just the same as it has been.)

I am roasting more squash tonight. And I have lefover brussels sprouts from yesterday. Mmmmm roasted vegetables. Love.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day of thanks 10

An attorney that I know saw the PLU (Pacific Lutheran University) Alumni sticker on my car and asked me about going to PLU. His son is considering going--he's a javelin thrower and they're trying to recruit him. Cool. To me it's about the difference between a Lutheran University and a Jesuit Catholic University, but I suppose for them it's more about the track team and the financial aid package (attorneys who practice in Juvenile Court aren't usually rolling in dough).

Which leads me to what I am thankful for today...I am thankful that I got through college and law school without any major debt. This is due in some part to a fair amount of scholarships in undergrad, in large part the savings and generosity of my parents, and in huge part the fact that college costs some 20+ years ago were but a fraction of what they are today. Even with inflation, I am convinced that they are far greater now in proportion to income than they were back then. If I were going to college today I don't believe I could afford a private liberal arts school like PLU.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful day 9

I am thankful that I work with fabulous people, not just everyone in my office, but also dedicated and caring probation counselors and prosecutors who are (currently) quite reasonable and agreeable. (Judges, court staff, and clerks too...also the social workers that I work with personally.)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Runner's World wants to help me

Just in time, a "special inspiration issue" that will help me Get Fired Up, Beat Year-End Fatigue, and Eat myself Healthy. (All while lying on the couch reading a magazine--good plan!)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

I love this. I love this.

That is my new mantra. That is what I repeat to myself when negative thoughts start to enter my head while I am running. "I love this. I love this. I love this." I focus my mind on positivity and try to drown out the negativity.

In my recent slump (and perhaps it is a negative thought even to acknowledge that I am in a slump), I frequently find myself criticizing and complaining about my running performance, mostly in my head. While I believe it may be productive at some times to analyze why things are not going well, doing so while I am running does not exactly help me runner better or faster!

My slump is almost all related to speed. I am still putting in the miles, I am just doing it so much slower than even a couple months ago. That might be endurable if I was able to kick it up to speed on race days, but that isn't happening either. My most recent 5K, on October 30, was about a minute per mile slower than the same race last year. As I crossed the finish line just over 27 minutes I couldn't help but say, repeatedly, "I'm a loser! I'm a loser!" (Last year I was a winner, first in my age group.)

I know that I will never be a super fast runner, but still, I think we all tend to judge our running by our speed. If we are improving and setting new PRs (or at least not Personal Worsts), then we are good runners. If we seem to get slower and slower, then...we are not good runners.

In the past few weeks, as I have had my difficulty with slow and heavy legs, I find myself sinking into negative thoughts while I am running. "I am so slow." "I will never be fast again." "I am trying hard and still can't get under a 10-minute pace." Or 10:30 pace. Or 11:00 pace.

Not surprisingly, these negative thoughts make me feel morose, and that weighs me down more. And when you feel bad about your running, it's hard to get out there and do it. Especially when it is dark and cold in the morning. And very possibly raining.

This morning I got myself out there (and luckily it was not raining, though it did begin partway through my run), and once again found myself plugging up the first hill at an 11-ish minute pace. Sure enough, the downer thoughts started creeping in. Instead of succumbing to them, though, every time I started to think something bad, I switched to repeating "I love this. I love this. I love this...." until the negative thoughts were pushed away. (I had to do this any number of times, I'll admit.)

While I don't think that changing my mantra to something positive necessarily made me faster (although my last couple of miles, out of seven total, were around a 9:30 pace, definitely an improvement over the first two), it did keep me from sinking into gloom, and I felt good about the run even if it wasn't the kind of "easy pace" I would have preferred to see.

I don't know what the solution to my speed problem is going to be--if there is one--but I do know that getting depressed over it is not a solution. That can only make me slower, not faster. For now I need to keep running, pushing myself a little so that my pace doesn't continue to deteriorate, and not let the late fall gloom bring me down. Because I love this, I love this, I love this.

My friend Marie posted this quote on Facebook, which is somewhat inspirational, and maybe could apply to struggling runners:

"Do not be impatient with your seemingly slow progress. Do not try to run faster than you can. If you are studying, reflecting, and trying, you are making progress whether you are aware of it or not. A traveler walking the road in the darkness of night is still going forward. Someday, some way, everything will break open, like the natural unfolding of a rosebud."— Vernon Howard

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanks on November 8

On Monday, November 8 I am thankful for TV at the Y. The Food Network (plus the blogs on my Google Reader) is the only thing that gets me through lengthy stints on the elliptical machine!

Mud and Chocolate Half Marathon trail run

On Sunday I participated in my second trail race (how do I get myself into these things?), this time the Mud and Chocolate Half Marathon on the trails at the Redmond Watershed Preserve. I will say right off the bat that the course, while genuine trails, was way easier for running than the trails of the Defiance 30K+, so my seemingly improved pace was as much due to that than any improved performance on my part. I did, however, run steadily throughout, without any stops or stalls, so I did save on frittered time more than I did at Point Defiance.

I invited my mom along for company (in the car), so she drove and I directed us to the Redmond Watershed, which I'd never been to before. The directions said that parking was very limited, so we arrived very early--at 7:30 for the 9:30 race! The directions implied that we would have to park out on the main road, or in a parking lot even further away, but we drove right into the park and at 7:30 there was plenty of parking. In fact, the only other people arriving at that time were race organizers and volunteers, plus possibly one or two other runners.

We parked near the start/finish area (and bathroom), but not too near...we parked next to some bushes for camouflage. We were a little concerned that they would not let us stay there. But as it turned out, parking in the park was fine, for those of us who got in early enough.

We were so early that I made a total of four bathroom visits before the race. I only had to wait in line for the last one, at around 9 a.m. or so.

The weather ended up being perfect! After torrential rains the whole night before, and well into the early morning hours, by 9:00 the rain had stopped competely and there were even glimpses of sun. There were still plenty of patches of mud on the trails, but no puddles or anything. I decided to wear a long-sleeved half-zip, lighter than a jacket but heavier than a long-sleeved shirt. At the time I got dressed at 6 a.m. it seemed a lot chillier! In retrospect I would have been fine in a regular long-sleeved or even short-sleeved shirt, but I was okay. I even ended up wearing my gloves for the whole race. I thought I would take them off after a few miles, but never did.

I had signed up for athlete alerts from the New York City marathon (two friends plus celebrity chef Bobby Flay), so throughout the race my cell phone was beeping with text messages of their splits. I was strong, and resisted pulling it out to look! Afterwards I learned that my friend Annie had finished in 3:43:00 (amazing!) and Bobby Flay was 4:01, I think.

This race included a 4.5 mile option (one loop) as well as a half marathon (three loops). At 9:30 we all gathered at the starting area for instructions, which mostly consisted of an explanation of the trail markings, plus some trail etiquette tips. The trail was very, very well marked, and I never had an issue of getting lost or even wondering about the right direction.

We all started out in a big group, and for the first bit just ran in line along the trail (everyone the same pace). As the trail widened people started passing and finding their pace. I would say that in this first bit, after the fasties zoomed by, I mostly passed others and was not much passed myself. I think that running with the 4.5 milers led to a slightly faster pace in the first loop (that is reflected in my splits). It was a little disconcerting, though, to be passed by people bolting to the finish line while I just plugged along.

The second loop started after about four miles. (The 4.5 milers split off to the finish line. I don't think their distance was actually a full 4.5 miles, though, as I found out at my finish that the half marathon was a little short too.) It was amazing how many people had dropped off to do the shorter distance, and now (as well as for the rest of the race) I was usually on my own. There were a few people that passed by me at various points, and I may have passed a couple.

Mostly, though, I may as well have been the only one out there. That was a strange experience. I run alone all the time, of course, but when you're alone in a race it's hard not to feel like you are the very last. I was really happy in my final mile to catch up to and finish with a couple of other women, just to show that I wasn't completely isolated.

The trail alternated from almost-single-track woods, with rocks in the ground but no roots or branches, to wider bridle trails. It was flat a lot of the time but also had significant portions of downhill (not steep) and uphill (mostly not steep). At two points on the course (which I passed three times) there was a sort of gate that we had to pass through--like a cattle gate but I don't think there are any cattle in the park. Obviously that required walking through so as not to slam into it. Other than a brief pause at the aid station my second time past, I didn't walk at all, not even on the steeper hills.

The most surreal moment of the race was when I finished my second loop and was passed by a female flying by to the finish. The time then was 1 hour 35 minutes. Crazy fast for any half marathon, let along trail!

The aid station was at the beginning of each loop. The first time I just passed by it. The second time I took a piece of something that was like a chocolate granola bar. It was okay...I figured I needed fuel. I also ate a Gu from my waist pack around mile 9 or 10. I am trying to be more proactive about fueling in long races.

In my final (third) loop I decided to try to push myself more. I made a concerted effort to run harder, especially on the downhills, although I still plugged up the uphills. I don't really think my splits reflected my efforts though. My first few miles were still the fastest.

As I approached the final mile, I saw two women ahead of me that I had seen earlier in the race. I caught up to both of them, and passed at least one, maybe both. However, one of them flew by me in the final stretch and there was no way I could outrun her. As for the other, I genuinely don't recall which of us finished first!

The finish was a bit of a surprise to me, because my Garmin didn't even say 13 miles yet, let alone 13.1! I know that I had been running the tangents very aggressively in the last four miles, but I am also sure that the course was a little short. I accepted that for purposes of the race, but before we left I ran around the parking lot and back onto the trail just enough to make my own final distance 13.1 miles for the day. I would have just felt unfinished otherwise.

As we crossed the unmarked finish line, we were handed a gold foil covered medal. Unfortunately, my mom didn't get a very good picture of my finish.... Although you can see the traditional stopping of the watch. My time for the distance was 2:24-something. My goal (which I only made up in the last couple miles) was to finish under 2:30. Despite the race being short, I have calculated that I would have done so even with the full distance.

The woman in the reddish shirt is one of the ones I finished with (she's the one I don't know whether she was ahead of or behind me). Here I am telling my mother to hand me the medal so I can put it on for the picture.
In front of the chocolate table, wearing my medal! I partook of several chocolate goodies, including chocolate chip cookies and truffles.
This is probably where I informed my mother than I needed to finish the distance before we left.
My shoes and ankles were really the only part of me that suffered from the mud on the trails! I saw at least three people fall down, so I guess I was lucky. After the first one I figured that I was doomed to fall at some point...but I never did.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day of Thanks 7

I am thankful for an extra hour of sleep this morning (thanks to the switch to Standard Time)!

I am also thankful that it really doesn't rain all the time in Washington, despite reports to the contrary. Even though I could hear it pouring outside at 5 a.m., by 9 a.m. it was completely dry and the sun began to peek out for the rest of the day (just as promised by weather.com).

Both of the above were very helpful in running the Mud and Chocolate Half Marathon today! Race recap to follow...later (maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's official!

The postcard says that if you improve your qualifying time, you can submit it for better seeding. Ha! I'm just lucky they can't kick you out based on subsequent performance!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thanks, Day 6

Today, obviously, I am thankful that the Oregon Ducks are having such a fantastic winning season! At this moment they are well on the way to another win in their undefeated streak. At the beginning of the fourth quarter the score is Oregon 39, Washington 16, and Oregon has been crazy in the fourth pretty much every game this year.

I'll admit that my Oregon fandom is a direct result of my relationship with Rod, who is an avid Duck from his law school days at U of O. I've jumped on the bandwagon because, why not? I love green and yellow.

Um, yes, I did go to law school at the University of Washington, so I guess this makes me a bit of a Benedict Arnold in this game. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Washington have a winning season, but that ship has already sailed this year. I've never felt like much of a Husky, anyway. When I went to law school our building was not even on the main campus (though that has changed these days), and purple? Not so much.

I've kind of moved away from the thankfulness part of this post, so to recap: I am thankful for the Oregon Ducks' success because 1) it makes Rod really happy; 2) it's a lot of fun to see the team you like win big!; and 3) that Duck is so darned cute!

I waited to publish this until the game was over. FINAL SCORE: Oregon 53 - Washington 16.

On an unrelated note...I signed up for the New York City Marathon Athlete Alerts ($2.99 to follow up to three runners and get text messages of their splits). Two of my friends are running, so for the third spot I put in Bobby Flay. Just for kicks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day of thanks 5

Today I am thankful that the New York City marathon is going to air on Universal Sports channel on Sunday morning, as well as a recap version on NBC later in the day. I have already set my DVR, as I will be running a half marathon on Sunday. There is also a past NYC marathon (maybe last year?) on Universal Sports tonight.

This morning I had such a hard time getting up (AGAIN). I kept delaying the start of my run, and adjusting the total distance accordingly, as I had a haircut appointment at 10. When I finally went out I figured I could do six miles then come home for a quick shower and change.

But somewhere during the run it occurred to me that if I omitted the run home and shower I could squeeze in eight miles and just go directly to the hair salon. So I tweaked my route just enough to hit eight miles at the downtown Starbucks, with enough time leftover to grab an Americano and walk a few blocks to the hair salon.

An hour later, newly coiffed, I was ready to head home. However, the cool morning that had worked well for running seemed much chillier for walking, especially in my still slightly damp clothes and with a wind that had seemed to spring up. Brrrrr....

So a few blocks along my way I veered into Renee's to see if I could find a jacket or something on the sale racks to wear home. I didn't find much that fit the bill on sale, but the sales assistant found me a nice green pullover that looked really cute with a scarf I was ogling. I ended up walking out wearing the top and scarf over my running clothes. (After paying, of course.)

The remaining mile walk home was much more pleasant! But the shopping delay had cost me some time. Back home (with another coffee obtained on the way) I quickly sponge bathed and changed into jeans with my new shirt and scarf, then hustled off to work for the rest of the day.

Now I am watching the 2009 NYC marathon...hope it won't take the bloom off of Sunday!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three things thankful Thursday

Ooh, a three-fer! Let's see what I can come up with.

I am super thankful for my "gardeners." That would be my head gardener, my dad, who will periodically come over to my house along with a guy that he pays to help him out, and spend hours weeding in my yard. I am also thankful for the neighbor boy who mows and edges my lawn and does a beautiful, very professional job. (That one I pay for but it is worth every penny!)

I am thankful in advance for Papa Murphy's Thin Crust Delite pizza. Canadian bacon and pineapple at 133 calories per slice for dinner tonight!

And I am thankful to get a last-minute haircut appointment at 10 a.m. tomorrow! I had an appointment last Friday and completely blew it off (by mistake of course). My hair stylist just had a cancellation and I'm in!

Last night I went for a 10-mile run after work. The weather was great, as I mentioned yesterday. Still, the after effects of that run remind me why it is usually better for me to run in the morning than at night. When I run in the morning I have a whole day of walking around at work and keeping my legs moving. At night, I get home after the run, and immediately sit down to eat dinner, watch TV, and then go to bed. When I went to bed I did have an ice pack for my ankle and a hot water bottle which I applied to my glutes and quads. Despite this "treatment," I woke up in the night with sore, achy legs and leg cramps. I ended up taking an Epsom salt bath at 1 a.m. which did, along with some Advil, soothe me enough to fall asleep. This doesn't usually happen when I run in the morning! So, I'm not saying I will never again put off a morning run to afternoon; however, hopefully I will think twice before I do.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Month of Thanks Day 3

Today I am thankful for the weather! (Today.) Sunny and warm--upper 60's, even over 70 some places. It totally justified my decision to sleep in this morning and run after work instead. Ten miles in short sleeves after 6 p.m. (We deserve this weather, considering that we had October all summer long!)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day thanks

Today I am thankful to live in a country where the radical response to political disagreement is to run against a candidate in his or her election bid. Go democracy!

However, I am also thankful that after today I won't have to see another political ad on TV for months. Also that my recycling bin mail box will no longer be full of political mailings!

P.S. Yes, I am still running. Meaning on the roads, not for office. Updates to come!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Month of thanks

I am borrowing from some other blogs the idea of posting one thing I am thankful for on each day this November. The great thing is, as I was thinking about this topic, I quickly came up with several things I am thankful for today.

Today I am thankful that Rod came through his hip surgery so well, with a pretty easy recovery and no complications. On Friday the doctor pronounced him successfully healed (though still working on flexibility and full mobility). Yesterday we went out for a short bike ride in the autumn afternoon sun. It was lovely. I am also thankful that Rod was so well taken care of at Overlake Hospital. I have known other people whose hospital experiences have not been nearly as positive.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T